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Infringement disputes

3 min read

What is an infringement dispute?

An infringement dispute is a disagreement between two or more persons when copyrighted music is used without permission.

What is copyright infringement?

Copyright infringement in the music industry means using a protected or without the permission of the in cases where such permission is required by . Examples include , copying, distributing, performing a song without permission, or large-scale infringement of numerous works, often referred to as piracy.

What is an infringement dispute, and when would it occur? 

Infringement disputes occur when of musical works or sound recordings claim that another party used their work without permission.

Some examples of when copyright infringement and resulting infringement disputes can occur include:

  • Sampling a sound recording without permission

  • Re-recording and releasing a musical work without permission

  • Uploading a sound recording online, using it on a website, or in the background of a video without permission

  • Using musical work or sound recording with audio-visual content, such as film or TV, or advertising without permission

  • Releasing music that is substantially similar to another creator's music

For more information about specific rights under copyright law, head to the Music Creators’ Rights topic.

For more information on protecting and enforcing your rights, check out the WIPO Enforcement page.

How can an infringement dispute be resolved?

If you're a with a or a signed with a , you should contact your music publisher or record label and seek their advice and support about any infringing use of your musical works or sound recordings. You should also consult your if you have one. Your music publisher or record label will likely take action in such cases. They have legal departments and are used to dealing with such cases.

If you are an , also known as a artist, you may want to send the infringing party a . Ask your for help, as many have a process to deal with these issues, or consult a lawyer. Also, alternative dispute resolution options, such as , can be a way to explore other possibilities to resolve the dispute with the infringing party. CMOs and have put in place mediation procedures for these purposes. These options are increasingly used by rights holders in different jurisdictions.

If the infringement is happening online check out the procedure to work out if you can handle the issue yourself.

Because notice and takedown procedures vary by jurisdiction and can get quite complex, if it's not clear what you should do, it is advisable to consult a copyright lawyer.

Additionally, some countries facilitate alternative dispute resolution options, such as mediation or , to resolve online infringement disputes outside the courtrooms.

You can check the WIPO ADR for Digital Copyright and Content Disputes webpage for more information on this.

If you determine that someone is your copyrighted work, you may want to contact the law enforcement authorities, including the police, prosecutors, and customs, depending on the scale and nature of the infringement. Some countries have specialized units to combat copyright piracy, and they typically work with international partners because of the global reach and presence of large-scale organizations involved in copyright piracy. However, you should first consult your CMO, record label, music publisher, manager, or lawyer on the best way to proceed.

Image credit: Martin Fabricius Rasmussen